26th May 2021 at 1:20 pm #126361Popular12Participant
Hello I have recently challenged my husband of (detail removed by moderator) following advice from WA that his behaviours are emotionally abusive . It was like finding out I had a new husband as I don’t feel he has behave this way before although looking back I can see things that were not right .
Since (detail removed by moderator) I’d noticed changes in how he responded to me such as making me feel misunderstood, negative responses that felt confusing some things were as though he thought I did things deliberately which later in he had confirmed. In between he would behave in normal friendly ways and his negative behaviour was often subtle so not feeling able to challenge he about it . I would come away thinking about what he would say . U started to write it all down . Lots of it was to do with me forgetting things (detail removed by moderator), little comments about it . Frustrated when he could t find things and it would always be my fault. Often making me feel rubbish for his issues . Following this there was an incident (detail removed by moderator). This was just bad luck I could t belied done it and apologised . Then he (detail removed by moderator). I felt so upset but unable to challenge he because for some reason I lost my confidence to where as I would have previously . Since then he has minimised this issue (I have not felt able to do the washing) (detail removed by moderator), I don’t understand where he is coming from (detail removed by moderator), this has been going in for a long time ( I havnt been aware of this) (detail removed by moderator) . He has a system now with the washing so if I did separate washing it would mess it up . Iv explained this is making me feel incapable and undermined . He thinks I keep bringing it up to ware him down and get rid of him , (detail removed by moderator). If it was the other way round he would just accept it ( believe it would be an outcry). He said (detail removed by moderator). Since talking to him about how things have made me feel he has drank every night and not eaten with me saying (detail removed by moderator) . He is t that person and apparently I have some hidden agenda, I am taking things too much to heart, I read into too much . He’s made me feel I’m being unreasonable.
27th May 2021 at 7:41 pm #126394OceanParticipant
Thank you for sharing with us.
I’m sorry you are feeling undermined and not cared for.
I also shared with my ex when I was told I was in an abusive relationship. He was very angry. And he started a campaign against me to destroy my character. They usually try to isolate us and don’t want to be revealed.
I naively told him because I had hope that if a professional said that, maybe he would try to change his behaviour. But he just wanted to control and destroy me.
Have you done The Freedom Program?
Best wishes xx
28th May 2021 at 3:18 pm #126422ISOPeaceParticipant
Hi Polular 12, I just realised that I wrote a reply on your thread but seem to have lost it. I’m sad to hear what you described. A lot of detail has been removed, but I can see that you feel like you’re in an impossible position. That is the sad nature of abuse – abusers put us in impossible positions to maintain control of us. But it’s very difficult to see what’s happening because to get away with the abuse, our abusers suck us in gradually. I’ve read a horrible but helpful analogy on here of putting a frog into water and gradually heating it up. By the time the frog realises something’s wrong, it’s too late to get out.
Wanting to challenge our abuser is a really natural thing and to anyone who doesn’t know much about how abuse works, it sounds like a good idea. Unfortunately most of us don’t know much about how abuse works. I think when we want to challenge an abuser we are trying to serve (at least) two purposes:
1. to find a sense of strength in standing up for ourselves, and
2. to try to make them see what they’re doing to us and appeal to their empathy.
In a non-abusive relationship, this would be a good thing: asserting boundaries and sharing how we feel. But normal advice isn’t helpful in abusive situations because:
1. an abuser will see any strength as a sign they’re losing control, so will escalate the abuse, be defensive, turn it around so we think we’re at fault – anything to make us feel weak and hopeless.
2. abusers are unable to empathise with us (maybe unable to empathise at all). It feels crushing when we open up emotionally and meet a brick wall. Or even worse face being attached. Also, abusers use any emotional vulnerability they see against us.
It’s lose – lose. Our abusers want it to seem impossible and hopeless to stand up to them. It’s how they maintain their control. I know this sounds hopeless, but you can start to take your power back by focussing on yourself. When we’re suffering abuse, all our attention is focussed on keeping our abuser happy and avoiding the next attack. This reinforces what our abuser wants us to think/feel, which is that their wants/needs are paramount but our needs are completely unimportant. When we start to focus on ourselves we teach ourselves that our needs to matter. I know it’s not as simple as just not complying with our abuser, as that could be very risky and almost certainly would feel terrifying. But we can take baby steps and build up as we feel stronger. You’ll eventually see that you can’t do anything to stop the abuse so you’ll be able to choose when you comply and when you don’t.
A good place to start is to not engage in defending yourself against ridiculous accusations. You will never win the argument, and will probably feel terrible afterwards even if you gave it your best shot at fighting your corner. However, if you’re able say to yourself something like “I am choosing to not engage with this madness. I choose to not waste my energy on defending myself” you can find strength in not being sucked into his games.
When I read your post, I looked on the internet for something that would explain why challenging an abuser is not recommended. I found some good advice but also some really terrible advice, so I started another thread called “Is anyone else frustrated by all the terrible advice out there?”. There have been some interesting replies so you might want to read it. Sending love xxxx
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